America is in its 17th year of the Global War on Terror – its longest war. But it’s easy to miss the news coverage when we live in a nonstop 24/7 news cycle. Thankfully, journalists have not forgotten about the wars we’re fighting and the issues facing the veterans of those wars. In honor of the service of both the military personnel at war and the journalists who work tirelessly cover them, below we’ve rounded up some of the most important, most interesting and most missed stories so far in 2018.
The fire pits used to get rid of trash in war zones – from classified papers to busted equipment, human waste and more – have remained a priority for local and regional newspapers, both in their news coverage and on their editorial pages. These pits are believed to cause serious illness in service members who have worked near them, and journalists and opinion writers have been telling the stories of the men and women affected throughout 2018.
The (Minneapolis) StarTribune: Veterans deserve answers on exposure to burn pits
Tampa Bay Times: Questions arise over active military burn pits as Bilirakis moves to help victims
Houston Chronicle: Veterans exposed to battlefield burn pits press VA for care and compensation
Post-traumatic stress disorder has long been considered an issue closely tied to military service. Journalists throughout the country have made an effort to discuss the real issues of PTSD for military veterans, and some of the science behind why they’re especially susceptible.
Military Times: The military’s obsession with energy drinks is contributing to PTSD, study finds
Task & Purpose: For Most Vets, PTSD Isn’t The Problem, ‘Transition Stress’ Is. Here’s What That Means
Marie Claire: When Female Veterans Return Home
The Kansas City (Missouri) Star: Jason Kander ends campaign for Kansas City mayor to focus on depression, PTSD
As legalization of medical and recreational marijuana has spread across the country, reporters have been flocking to the beat, with publications even adding dedicated cannabis reporters. Among the important stories being covered is the issue of medical marijuana for military veterans. While it has not been approved by Veterans Affairs, it remains a top story for those covering the military and veteran sphere.
NPR: Congress Calls On VA To Study Medical Marijuana To Treat PTSD
The (Columbia College) Chronicle: Veterans face hurdles when seeking access to medical marijuana
CNN: Veterans’ grass-roots movement shares health benefits of marijuana
The Hill: Congress just failed our nation’s veterans when it comes to medical marijuana
The U.S. has been at war in Afghanistan since 2001, following the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. As long as service members remain overseas, fighting what is often referred to as “The Forgotten War,” there have been journalists who have kept the story fresh in news consumers’ minds.
Reuters: One-third of US military injuries in Iraq and Afghanistan are not from battle
Associated Press: Amid little scrutiny, US military ramps up in Afghanistan
Politico: Whatever happened to Al Qaeda in Afghanistan?
The Salt Lake Tribune: Maj. Brent Taylor’s wife saw his body returned to this country and then delivered a message about freedom
The Islamic State
Whether referred to as IS, ISIS, ISIL or the Caliphate, the Islamic State has remained an important topic of news coverage. With so much fear surrounding the group, however, good reporting isn’t always easy. Despite this fact, there are plenty of journalists who are getting it right.
The New York Times: Caliphate (podcast series)
The Wall Street Journal: Islamic State Left 200 Mass Graves in Iraq, U.N. Says
Chicago Tribune: Case of Indiana woman accused of supporting ISIS ‘complicated’ due to classified material
The Washington Post: The orphans left behind by the Islamic State
Jennifer Peters is former content manager of the News Media Alliance.